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Cargo Specialist (88H)

Transportation and Aviation Army MOS Information
  • Enlisted
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve

The Army forces need supplies, weapons, equipment and mail delivered on a daily basis, all over the world. This cargo, which travels by land, sea and air, has to be handled carefully. Ensuring the safe arrival at the correct destinations of any and all Army cargo is the responsibility of the Cargo Specialist. Cargo Specialists load and unload supplies and materials using equipment such as forklifts and cranes, as well as plan and organize loading schedules.

Cargo Specialists are primarily responsible for transferring or supervising the transfer of passengers and cargo to and from air, land and water transport by manual and mechanical methods. Some of your duties as a Cargo Specialist may include:

  • Checking, tallying and documenting cargo using manual and automated data processing systems
  • Loading and unloading supplies and equipment from watercraft, docks, beaches, railheads, boxcars, warehouses, motor vehicles and aircraft
  • Operating and maintaining all types and sizes of winches, cranes and forklifts
  • Loading supplies into trucks, transport planes, and railroad cars using forklifts
  • Loading equipment such as jeeps, trucks and weapons aboard watercraft, using dockyard cranes
  • Packing and crating boxes of supplies for shipping
  • Inspecting cargo for damage
  • Planning and inspecting loads for balance and safety
  • Checking cargo against invoices to make sure the amount and destination of material are correct


Job training for a Cargo Specialist consists of nine weeks of Basic Training, where you’ll learn basic Soldiering skills, and eight weeks of Advanced Individual Training, including practice in testing different products. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field. You’ll learn:

  • Operation and care of forklifts, power winches, and cranes
  • Techniques for loading and storing cargo
  • Techniques for planning and scheduling cargo shipments
  • Safety procedures for handling potentially dangerous cargo
  • The Army offers certified apprenticeship programs for some specialties in this occupation.

Helpful Skills:

Helpful attributes include:

  • An interest in working with forklifts and cranes
  • A preference for physical work
  • An interest in general office and business mathematics

Advanced Responsibilities:

Advanced level Cargo Specialists supervise and train the other Soldiers within the same discipline. As an advanced level Cargo Specialist, you may be involved in:

  • Assigning cargo handlers, signal and winch operators to duty stations
  • Providing technical guidance to subordinates
  • Inspecting cargo, supervising cargo checking and hatch operations and controlling aircraft loading and unloading
  • Overseeing railhead tie-down crews
  • Directing container stuffing and unstuffing
  • Planning warehouse storage
  • Managing crane operations
  • Supervising operator maintenance for cargo handling equipment such as cranes and forklifts
  • Enforcing safety practices and documentation procedures

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